Worth Watching: ‘Clarice’ in Peril, ABC Dramas Return with ‘Grey’s’ Crossover and ‘Million,’ HBO Max’s ‘Genera+ion’
A selective critical checklist of notable Thursday TV:
[Editor’s note: All ET/CT times are approximate after President Biden’s prime-time speech at 8/7c]
Clarice (10:30/9:30c, 10/PT): When will Clarice Starling (Rebecca Breeds) ever learn? Having been warned not to put herself in another Buffalo Bill situation by going off on her own, she followed her gut and in last week’s cliffhanger found herself smack dab in a Robin Cook-style dilemma of medical mayhem. The result is a thrilling, Silence of the Lambs-creepy hour of suspense in which a drugged and incapacitated Clarice fights to escape the clutches of deranged Dr. Marilyn Felker (Natalie Felker), who has trapped her in a ward of comatose patients. Disturbing hallucinations add to Clarice’s peril in this cat-and-mouse exercise of psychological terror.
Station 19 and Grey’s Anatomy (8:20/7:20c, 8/PT): The game show deluge subsides so ABC can welcome back its signature medical drama and its spinoff, which pick up in a back-to-back crossover from where Grey’s Anatomy left off in December. Dr. DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti) and sister Carina (Stefania Spampinato) continue their pursuit of a suspected child sex trafficker, which also embroils the heroes of Station 19. The crossover continues into Grey’s, where a romantic subplot brings Winston (Anthony Hill) and Maggie (Kelly McCreary) back together.
What Happened on ‘Grey’s’ & ‘Station 19’ Winter Finale?: Catch Up Before the Spring Crossover Premiere
A Million Little Things (10:20/9:20c, 10/PT): ABC’s night finishes as the soapy drama confronts the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, threatening to disrupt all of the friends’ lives, including Rome’s (Romany Malco) autobiographical movie and wife Regina’s (Christina Moses) restaurant, which faces another legal obstacle. Medical issues bedevil Maggie (Allison Miller), who jets back to Boston from Oxford in advance of the international lockdown, and Eddie (David Giuntoli), who suffers another setback in his fight against addiction when his cortisone shot for back pain isn’t deemed an essential procedure. Quarantine with these unhappy characters won’t be easy, but the episode manages to end on a touching note of communal friendship.
Genera+ion (streaming on HBO Max): For those counting the days until a new season of Euphoria, HBO’s streaming service complies with another look at high-school sexuality that desperately desires to shock with its wokeness. But in a welcome change of pace, episodes are only a half-hour long. From father-daughter writing/producing team Zelda and Daniel Barnz, with Girls‘ Lena Dunham among the executive producers, Genera+ion features a promising and diverse young cast sowing their wild and pansexual oats within a conservative community.
Or you could lose yourself in one of the greatest teen dramas ever created for network TV: the short-lived My So-Called Life, streaming its single season from 1994-95 on Hulu. This emotional exploration of romantic teen angst introduced the world to Claire Danes as Angela Chase, with future Oscar winner Jared Leto as her dreamy crush Jordan Catalano.
COVID One Year Later: Life After Lockdown (10/9c, NBC): Network anchor Lester Holt is joined by Today‘s Savannah Guthrie at the Lincoln Memorial for an hourlong news special marking the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 being declared a public pandemic. Correspondents Craig Melvin, Richard Engel and Kate Snow contribute reports about the push for vaccines and the impact of the virus on travel and small businesses. The special includes interviews with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin and White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain. Likewise, Telemundo offers its own news special, COVID: One Year (6:30/5:30c), with a focus on the pandemic’s impact on the Latinx community. Weekend NBC anchor José Díaz-Belart broadcasts live from Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital with Arantza Loizaga and Julio Vaqueiro.
On a somewhat lighter, but still possibly poignant note, ABC’s late-night star weighs in with Jimmy Kimmel Live: Coronaversary Show (11:35/10:35c), bringing Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg back to his stage a year to the night when the former South Bend mayor guest-hosted (after having recently ended his presidential bid) on the last episode before everything changed for good.
On the Stream: AMC+ launches its dark crime drama Cold Courage with three episodes (the five remaining chapters drop weekly), based on novels by Finnish journalist Pekka Hiltunen. Pihla Viitala and Sofia Pekkari star as Nordic women, a psychologist and a graphic artist, who join an underground group, “The Studio,” in London to investigate murders that may be connected to a populist politician (Life on Mars‘ John Simm)… BET+ also drops three episodes to kick off the second season of Tyler Perry’s Ruthless, set amid a fanatical and dangerous religious cult… The Discovery+ documentary My Beautiful Stutter, narrated by Paul Rudd, profiles five young people, ages 9-18, who travel from across the USA to attend the arts-based program The Stuttering Association for the Young (SAY) over a transformative year… Here’s something many have screamed watching a horror movie: Stay Out of the F**king Attic, which happens to be the title of a new shocker on Shudder about ex-con movers who pull an all-nighter in a terrifying Victorian mansion. What are the odds they’ll heed the title’s warning?
Inside Thursday TV: Reba McEntire returns to guest star on CBS’s Young Sheldon (8:30/7:30c), kicking off an all-new night of comedies — each pushed back roughly a half-hour — including Mom (9:30/8:30c), where Bonnie (Allison Janney) feels slighted when her new sponsee (Steve Valentine) bonds with husband Adam (William Fichtner) instead… While some of the workers at NBCs Superstore (8:30/7:30c) try to manipulate customer satisfaction surveys, Jonah (Ben Feldman) takes a more rah-rah approach to get his colleagues to value themselves… Grand finale alert: Discovery’s Battlebots (8/7c) stages its final showdown among the final eight remote-controlled robots to see which will be rewarded with The Giant Nu… And the season finale of TBS’s Go-Big Show (9/8c) goes bigger than ever, as the final four extreme acts pull out the stops in hopes of winning the $100,000 grand prize… Food Network’s Robert Irvine revives his series Dinner: Impossible (10/9c) by heading to Oahu, Hawaii, where he’s challenged to make a feast using only produce and proteins he can find on the iconic Kualoa Ranch… Not for foodies, but for those with a taste for quirky short films, FXX’s Cake (10/8c) returns with back-to-back episodes.